Rachel Bown – World Standard Distance Age Group Triathlon Championships 2022 Race Report

World Standard Distance Age Group Triathlon Championships 2022

Venue: Abu Dhabi

Race Report

From the 24th-26th November, 2000 athletes from across the globe came together to race in the 2022 World Triathlon Championships in Abu Dhabi. Every athlete had qualified to represent their country at national championships in their home country. The race schedule included elite racing, para-triathlete racing and age-group racing. I was number 1859.

This year has been a particularly significant year for me, because it is the first year I have represented Team GB since I underwent radiotherapy treatment for a brain tumour in 2017

My dreams came true when I finished 3rd in the European Championships in May, so I went to Abu Dubai feeling confident and optimistic I could perform well in the biggest international event of the year.

We race in 5 year age groups which makes it fair. I am in the 50-54AG which is very competitive. Lots of ex-professional athletes return to age-group racing when they retire and many others join the triathlon community from swimming, cycling or running backgrounds.

My pre-race goals were :

1) To finish the race in one piece- it was going to be very hot

2) To execute my best race for my level of fitness and ability

3) To finish in the Top 15

4) To be one of the Top 3 GB athletes

My race consisted of a 1500m swim in the sea, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run

Swim : Because the sea was so warm we were not allowed to wear a wetsuit. This didn’t worry me until I saw all the big jelly fish! Luckily, they didn’t sting me and I navigated my way around the course. Ironically despite being blind in one eye, my ‘sighting’ is very good.

I had a long 500m bare footed run into T1 where I transitioned onto my bike.

Bike : The bike ride was two laps. It was very busy because all the other athletes from the other age groups, both men’s and women’s were also on the course. The rules are very strict. We are not allowed to be less than 10m behind someone (this is called drafting and it is cheating) so I needed to overtake very quickly when I could. My average speed was 21.5mph.

When I finished the bike ride, I could see that there were not many bikes back on the racking in my age group area, so I knew I was having a good race. I put my running shoes on and headed out on the two-lap run course. I knew this was undoubtedly going to be the hardest part because it was so hot. It was 34 degrees! There were lots of athletes walking but I stuck to my race plan and made sure I drank plenty of water and used the ice and wet sponges we were offered to cool my head. I felt strong.

There were lots of supporters on the course. We have our surnames on our tri-suits and our first names on our race numbers, so it was great to hear people cheering my name. This encouragement really helped.

I pushed hard on the second lap and enjoyed overtaking lots of much younger athletes. As I turned onto the finishing blue carpet, I heard the compere announce my name and country. I had finished in 10th place out of 38 athletes from around the world and I was the 2nd athlete from Team GB. I had achieved my goals!

I’m exceptionally proud to represent my country and never take my health and fitness for granted. Thank you to everyone at Fairfield Farm College for helping me to live my dreams. The support I receive from both staff and students really does make a difference. In return I hope I am a positive role model and an example of what you can achieve through resilience, commitment and hard work.

You may never become an international triathlete, but you can become the best version of yourself in whatever you enjoy doing. You can also enjoy meeting and spending time with some great people. Go for it!

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